Friend Of the Devil – 2007/2008

Friend of the Devil Friend of the Devil

UK edition published by Hodder & Stoughton
432 pages, £14.99 (hardcover), £6.99 (paperback)

US edition published by William Morrow
384 pages, $24.95 (hardcover)

Summary

One morning in March, on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea, a woman named Karen Drew is found in her wheelchair with her throat slit. Back in Eastvale on that same morning, in a tangle of narrow alleys behind a market square, the body of Hayley Daniels is found raped and strangled.

Two murders . . . two towns . . .

On loan to a sister precinct, Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot draws the first case. Karen Drew seems to have lived a quiet and nearly invisible life for the past seven years. Try as she might, Annie turns up nothing in the woman’s past that might have prompted someone to wheel her out to the sea and to her death.

Meanwhile, in the Hayley Daniels murder, Chief Inspector Alan Banks has suspects galore. Everywhere she went, the nineteen-year-old student attracted attention. Anyone could have followed her on the night she was out drinking with friends, making sure she never made it back home.

Then a breakthrough spins Annie’s case in a shocking and surprising new direction, straight toward Banks. Coincidence? Not in Eastvale. Banks and Annie are searching for two killers who might strike again at any moment and with bloody fury.

Read this book’s playlist.

Reviews

“Friend of the Devil’s seamless plotting, exploring the consequence of crime, punishment and vengeance, is the perfect 20th anniversary present for Robinson’s readers.” South Florida Sun-Sentinel; read full review

“This, perhaps, is Robinson’s greatest strength: his ability to invest his characters with enough personality to make his readers really care about them.” Yorkshire Evening Post

“Its cracking pace, twists and surprises, make Friend of the Devil a first-class addition to the Inspector Banks series. It is a highly-charged novel that sees our favourite detectives pushed to the limit, professionally and personally, as they try to solve such complex cases.” ETLife

“Robinson is good at producing ingenious mysteries and this one doesn’t disappoint.” The Sunday Telegraph

“…a must-read for any fans of Brit mysteries…” Cleveland Plain Dealer; read full review

“Chilling, eerie and full of surprises…” Merrimon Book Reviews; read full review

“Robinson is equally skilled at reflecting procedural details and treating his flesh-and-blood characters — despite their flaws — with compassion and humor.” Miami Herald

“…an immensely satisfying novel in a stellar series by a master of the art” Boston Globe; read full review

Excerpt

Sunday mornings were hardly sacrosanct to Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks. After all, he didn’t go to church, and he rarely awoke with such a bad hangover that it was painful to move or speak. In fact, the previous evening he had watched The Black Dahlia on DVD and had drunk two glasses of Tesco’s finest Chilean Cabernet with his reheated pizza funghi. But he did appreciate a lie-in and an hour or two’s peace with the newspapers as much as the next man. For the afternoon, he planned to phone his mother and wish her a happy Mother’s Day, then listen to some of the Shostakovich string quartets he had recently purchased from iTunes and carry on reading Tony Judt’s Postwar. He found that he read far less fiction these days; he felt a new hunger to understand, from a different perspective, the world in which he had grown up. Novels were all well and good for giving you a flavour of the times, but he needed facts and interpretations, the big picture.

That Sunday, the third in March, such luxury was not to be. It started innocently enough, as such momentous sequences of events often do, at about half past eight, with a phone call from Detective Sergeant Kevin Templeton, who was on duty in the Western Area Major Crimes squad room that weekend.

“Guv, it’s me. DS Templeton.”

Banks felt a twinge of distaste. He didn’t like Templeton, would be happy when his transfer finally came through. There were times when he tried to tell himself it was because Templeton was too much like him, but that wasn’t the case. Templeton didn’t only cut corners, he trampled on far too many people’s feelings and, worse, he seemed to enjoy it.

“What is it?” Banks grunted. “It had better be good.”

“It’s good, sir. You’ll like it.”

Banks could hear traces of obsequious excitement in Templeton’s voice. Since their last run-in, the young DS had tried to ingratiate himself in various ways, but this kind of phony breathless deference was too Uriah Heep for Banks’s liking.

“Why don’t you just tell me?” said Banks. “Do I need to get dressed?” He held the phone away from his ear as Templeton laughed.

“I think you should get dressed, sir, and make your way down to Taylor’s Yard as soon as you can.”

Taylor’s Yard, Banks knew, was one of the narrow passages that led into the Maze, which riddled the south side of the town centre behind Eastvale’s market square. It was called a yard not because it resembled a square or a garden in any way, but because some bright spark had once remarked that it wasn’t much more than a yard wide. “And what will I find there?” he asked.

“Body of a young woman,” said Templeton. “I’ve checked it out myself. In fact, I’m there now.”

“You didn’t -”

“I didn’t touch anything, sir. And between us, Police Constable Forsythe and me have got the area taped off and sent for the doctor.”

“Good,” said Banks, pushing aside the Sunday Times crossword he had hardly started and looking longingly at his still-steaming cup of black coffee. “Have you called the super?”

“Not yet, sir. I thought I’d wait till you’d had a butcher’s. No sense in jumping the gun.”

“All right,” said Banks. Detective Superintendent Catherine Gervaise was probably enjoying a lie-in after a late night out to see Orfeo at Opera North in Leeds. Banks had seen it on Thursday with his daughter, Tracy, and enjoyed it very much. He wasn’t sure whether Tracy had. She seemed to have turned in on herself these days. “I’ll be there in half an hour,” he said. “Three-quarters at the most. Ring DI Cabbot and DS Hatchley. And get DC Jackman there, too.”

“DI Cabbot’s still on loan to Eastern, sir.”

“Of course. Damn.” If this was a murder, Banks would have liked Annie’s help. They might have problems on a personal level, but they still worked well as a team.

Banks went upstairs and showered and dressed quickly, then back in the kitchen he filled his travel mug with coffee to drink on the way, making sure the top was pressed down tight. More than once he’d had a nasty accident with a coffee mug. He turned everything off, locked up and headed for the car.

He was driving his brother’s Porsche. Though he still didn’t feel especially comfortable in such a luxury vehicle, he was finding that he liked it better each day. Not so long ago, he had thought of giving it to his son, Brian, or to Tracy, and that idea still held some appeal. The problem was that he didn’t want to make one of them feel left out, or less loved, so the choice was proving to be a dilemma. Brian’s band had gone through a slight change of personnel recently, and he was rehearsing with some new musicians. Tracy’s exam results had been a disappointment to her, though not to Banks, and she was passing her time rather miserably working in a bookshop in Leeds and sharing a house in Headingley with some old student friends. So who deserved a Porsche? He could hardly cut it in half.

It had turned windy and cool, so Banks went back to switch his sports jacket for his zip-up leather jacket. If he was going to be standing around in the back alleys of Eastvale while the SOCOs, the photographer and the police surgeon did their stuff, he might as well stay as warm as possible. Once snug in the car, he started the engine and set off through Gratly, down the hill to Helmthorpe and on to the Eastvale Road. He plugged his iPod into the adapter, on shuffle, and Ray Davies’s “All She Wrote” came on, a song he particularly liked, especially the line about the big Australian barmaid. That would do for a Sunday-morning drive to a crime scene, he thought; it would do just fine.